As the NCAA tournament is locked and loaded to start this week, so is spring football for the Spartans.
Michigan State will open its spring practices Tuesday, and will end with the Green and White game on April 20.
On Monday, Mark Dantonio held a press conference to kick off the spring session, and the depth chart also was released.
It wouldn't be a Mark Dantonio press conference without something to rile up the masses a little bit.
Mark Dantonio says he wants to "win in this state."— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) March 18, 2013
Most notably from the presser, there were two departures from the MSU program, and one academic issue.
Hammock will be remembered for his catch in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl last year on the pass from Le'Veon Bell. Mills, I would expect, will be back -- if he figures out those issues. Klatt is just another instance of an MSU offensive lineman hating god. He is remaining around the program and working in the football office.
The initial spring depth chart always is of great interest to me, as the freshman from the previous year all break into it.
First off, the players who will miss spring football coming off surgery are linebackers Denicos Allen and offensive guard Jack Allen. Darqueze Dennard will be out for the start, but is expected back for the final two weeks.
The offensive line, being a concern after a poor showing last season, has a familiar feel, but some changes. The first-string, as of now, is LT Fou Fonoti, LG Blake Treadwell, C Travis Jackson, RG Dan France and RT Skyler Burkland.
With Allen's injury, Treadwell -- likely the starting right guard -- has moved to left guard and France, who was last year's starting left tackle, has moved over to right guard.
Some other names that stand out on the depth chart:
-- Jamal Lyles is listed at two positions: third-string at SAM linebacker and third-string at strongside defensive end. Lyles came in as a linebacker recruit, but at 6-foot-4 and bulked up 30 pounds to 242, he could project to defensive end.
Dantonio: "I think Jamal Lyles and Riley Bullough are two guys you're gonna see on the field a lot."— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) March 18, 2013
-- Monty Madaris listed as No. 2 X receiver behind Tony Lippett stands out on the MSU spring depth chart.
Dantonio: Madaris "will be in the mix" at WR. Lacking game experience, can stretch the field vertically. Ankle limited him.—Chris Solari (@chrissolari) March 18, 2013
-- Defensive back Jairus Jones is listed at STAR linebacker, which likely is a depth thing because of the injury to Davis.
-- Jack Conklin, a late addition to the 2012 class, drew rave reviews at left tackle on the scout team last year and made the leap to the backup at left tackle behind Fonoti. Of course, France could move back over there after the spring, but this speaks highly of the redshirt freshman Conklin.
-- Kodi Kieler, who was a 2012 offensive tackle recruit, has moved to center and is listed as the backup to Travis Jackson.
More notes from the press conference:
Dantonio said his defense staff went to LSU, a little behind on a trip on offense with staff changes. Plans to do that after spring ball.—Chris Solari (@chrissolari) March 18, 2013
-- And, of course, the quarterbacks. Dantonio emphasized Andrew Maxwell is the No. 1, but also made it known that all three QBs (Maxwell, Connor Cook and Tyler O'Connor) will work with the first team.
Asked about QBs, Dantonio starts by saying it's very important Tyler O'Connor "has opportunities to move forward as a QB."— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) March 18, 2013
Question for Dantonio: Will the 3 QBs split reps with the 1s? Didn't say yes, exactly, but said all will work with 1s.— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) March 18, 2013
Dantonio says QBs will be live this spring in scrimmages— Matt Charboneau (@mattcharboneau) March 18, 2013
-- Tight end will be a position that MSU has to address with the departure of Dion Sims, and freshman Josiah Price was a name thrown out by Dantonio, as was Evan Jones -- both redshirt freshmen.
Dantonio: Tight end is an important position right now. Says Josiah Price reminds him of Brian Linthicum the way he catches the ball— Brian Calloway (@brian_calloway) March 18, 2013